Identity Management (IM) is a sub-segment under Identity and Access Management (IAM), which also includes Single Sign On (SSO) and authentication services-topics covered in a previous article. As with SSO, Identity Management is also increasingly being offered as a cloud service although there are currently fewer cloud IM than cloud SSO players, primarily due to security concerns over the perceived vulnerability of hosting identity systems and personal data of users in the public cloud.
While SSO and authentication are mainly concerned with access validation and centralising the access of users to various enterprise applications under a single set of credentials, IM is focused on provisioning/de-provisioning of users and access governance. Provisioning and de-provisioning involves adding, removing or updating users when they join, leave or move up in a company. Access governance, meanwhile, involves managing access certifications and entitlements of active users, all aspects which are critical for data protection and auditing. In this sense, IM services involve managing a user’s identity throughout its life cycle.